Philip Whiteley's Blog

April 5, 2016

OK is never good enough

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 9:06 am

It’s a year since Close of Play was published, my first novel. The pre-publication nerves didn’t last, as the reception has been overwhelmingly positive; on GoodReads, on Amazon, from book clubs and in several reviews by book bloggers (the easiest way of finding these is simply typing “PJ Whiteley Close of Play” into a Google search. Last month I reached a particularly pleasing landmark as I received the first print review, in the Church Times. It was very positive, referring to the book being ‘… well written but above all well observed’. And it was placed next to Richard Harries reviewing TS Eliot, so I felt extremely bookish.

I’ve known for some time, from non-fiction work, about the extent to which marketing is a large part of the author’s trade. A valuable lesson reinforced by my experience in the past year is that it’s not ‘either/or’ when it comes to deciding between writing quality and self-promotion; it was only when I felt I had completed a story that would genuinely be enjoyed and appreciated that I felt comfortable about promoting it. That’s why it took me years to finish. The next opus, Marching on Together, will not appear until about this time next year. It’s a frustrating wait in some ways, but I’m going to use the time to enhance the story, with the help of a reader panel; identify the strong and the sweet moments in the text; generate ideas to create new ones. There’s always a temptation as an author, with a chapter or a paragraph where the phrasing is only ‘ok’, or the scene is not entirely convincing, to tell yourself ‘Oh, it’ll do.’

No, no, no!! Never settle for that! OK is never good enough! The story has to hold the attention and convince the reader all the way through. Every paragraph, every sentence, has to fit, has to sound right.

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